Make Your *Kingdom Come Soon!

Psalm 89

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 89

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Make your *kingdom come soon. Make people obey your rules in the earth as they do in *heaven (Matthew 6: 10). (This is part of a special *prayer that Jesus taught us. A *kingdom is where a king rules; here, God is the King.)

Psalm 89: 1 - 4

(This is) a *maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

v1   I will always sing about the kind love of the *LORD.
  I will tell (my) children and (my) grandchildren
  that you will do what you have promised.

v2   Yes! I will say that nothing will ever stop your kind love (for us).
  You will do the things that you promised in *heaven.

v3   (God had said in *heaven)
  "I have made a *covenant with the man that I chose.
  I have made special promises to my servant David.

v4   Someone from your family will always be king.
  And there will always be a place where they (will rule) as king".   *SELAH

The Story of Psalm 89

God made special promises to David. They are in 2 Samuel 7:12-17. The important promise is that someone from Davidís family would always be king. Ethan wrote Psalm 89 many years after this. He called it a *maskil, a psalm that teaches us something.

In the psalm, Ethan sings about a problem. God had promised that there would always be a king in Davidís family. But now there was no *Jewish king! The army from Babylon had beaten the *Jewish army. They took the *Jewish king to Babylon and the King of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) became king of the *Jews. How could anyone explain this?

Christians have sung this psalm on Christmas Day for many centuries. This is because Jesus is a king from Davidís family, he will always be king and he was born at Christmas. That is how we explain the problem ... but Ethan did not know this!

What Psalm 89: 1 - 4 means

In verse 3 the *covenant is what God and the *Jews agreed. If the *Jews would love and obey God, then he would keep them safe. The *Jews had a special *covenant name for God: *Yahweh. We translate it *LORD, with 4 capital letters. In this part of the psalm, Ethan says that he still believes that God will do what he had promised. Ethan was right! We think that *SELAH means a place to stop and pray, or think, or listen to music.

The *Kingdom Of *Heaven

Psalm 89: 5 - 18

v5   In *heaven, they *praise the *wonderful things that you have done, *LORD.
  Also, the *holy *angels that meet together
  (know that) you will do what you have promised.

v6   For who is there in *heaven that is *like the *LORD?
  Which of the *sons of God is *like the *LORD?

v7   God frightens very much the *holy ones that meet together.
  He makes them more afraid than anyone else does.

v8   Most Powerful *LORD God, who is as strong as you are, *LORD?
  And you do everything that you have promised!

v9   You are the ruler of the boiling sea.
  When the water rises up, you make it quiet again.

v10   You broke Rahab and killed it!
  With your strong arm, you destroyed your enemies.

v11   The skies belong to you and so does the earth.
  You made the world and everything that is in it.

v12   You made (places in) the north and in the south.
  Tabor and Hermon *praise you when they hear your name.

v13   You have a strong arm; your hand is powerful;
  you have lifted up your right hand (to use your power).

v14   You have built your *kingdom doing what is right and fair.
  Your kind love and the fact that you keep your promises go in front of you.

v15   The people are very happy when they know how to *praise you.
  *LORD, they will walk in the light from your face.

v16   They will *praise your name all day
  and talk about your *righteousness.

v17   Your *glory will make them strong
  and by your *grace you will lift up our *horn.

v18   Yes! Our *shield is the *LORDís
  and our king belongs to the *Holy One of Israel.

What Psalm 89: 5 - 18 means

In verses 5 and 7 the *angels/ones are *holy because they live with God. *Holy means "very, very good". Only God is really *holy. In verse 6, "*sons of God" is another name for "*holy *angels" or "*holy ones". They are not people from earth, but Godís servants in *heaven. The answer to the two questions is "Nobody". The *angels are not *like God (or as good and powerful as God). In verse 8,it may mean "who on earth is as strong as you are?" The answer again is "Nobody", not even the "*sons of God" and "the *holy ones", verses 6-8.

In verses 9 - 14, the *psalmist comes "down to earth". He has talked about God as the most powerful person in *heaven in verses 5 to 8. Now he talks about Godís power on earth. In verse 9, God can make an angry ("boiling") sea quiet. This means he can make the loudest sea quiet. Jesus did this when he stopped the storm at sea. Jesus could do this because he was God. In verse 10, Rahab was either a sea-*monster, or a name for Egypt. In verse 12, Tabor and Hermon are the names of mountains in Israel. When we see great hills and mountains, we remember that God made (*created) them. That makes us *praise God. Mountains do not *praise God, they make us *praise God!

In verses 15 - 18, we read about Godís people. They are people that *praise God. In verse 15 "walk" means "live". "The light of your face" means "God being good" or "God showing the way". Godís face is where God is. Verse 17 is full of special Christian words. (Some people call them "*jargon"!) Some Bible students think it means:

    because you are great and powerful you will make them strong

    because you are kind you will make us strong

"Lift up our *horn" is *jargon for "make us strong". Note that the *psalmist changes from "them" to "our" in this verse. He has been talking about Godís people all the time. Now he says so! In verse 18, "the *Holy One of Israel" is a name for God.

A *Kingdom On Earth

Psalm 89: 19 - 37

v19   A long time ago, you spoke to your servants.
  It was like a dream. You said (to them),
  "I have given help to a brave soldier.
  I have chosen a young man from the people.

v20   I have found David my servant.
  I have poured my special oil over him (to make him king).

v21   My hand will make him strong and,
  Yes! My arm will make him powerful.

v22   No enemy will win a war against him
  and no *wicked people will *conquer him.

v23   I will destroy his enemies before him
  and kill those that hate him.

v24   I will do everything that I have promised him.
  Also, (I will give him) my kind love.
  And by my name I will raise his *horn.

v25   I will put his (left) hand over the sea
  and his right hand over the rivers.

v26   He (David) will say to me, "You are my Father,
  my God, and the Rock that makes me safe".

v27   Also, I will make him (as) my first born (son).
  (He will be) the most high of the kings of the earth.

v28   I will always give him my kind love
  and my *covenant with him will have no end.

v29   One of his family will always be king,
  as long as there are skies (above us).

v30 - v31   If his *descendants:
    do not listen to what I am teaching them
    and do not obey my *laws
    say that my *laws are bad
    and do not do what I tell them (to do)

v32   I will *punish their *sin with a stick
  and the wrong things they do with a *whip.

v33   But I will not take my kind love from him (David)
  and I will not *break any of my promises.

v34   I will not *break my *covenant (with him)
  or change any of my promises.

v35   At one time I made a promise.
  Because I am *holy I will not *lie to David.

v36   His *descendants will always continue
  and his *kingdom will go on as long as the sun (shines).

v37   Like the moon, it will always be there.
  From the sky, it will see everything that happens".   *SELAH

What Psalm 89: 19 - 37 means

In this part of the psalm, Ethan remembers the promises that God made to David. He said that all Godís people could see God in a *vision, verse 19. A *vision is *like a dream. They could also hear what God said. He told them that David was to be their king. In those days they made someone king by "*anointing" them. This means "pouring oil over them". They made the oil from *olives, which grew on the trees in Israel. (They still do!) In verse 21 (and verse 13), the hand and arm of God mean the things that he does on the earth. In verse 24 we read about a *horn again. It is a *horn on the head of an animal that makes it look strong. In verse 17, it was the people that God made strong. Here it is David that God makes strong. The hands over the seas and rivers, verse 25, mean that David is strong in these places. Verse 26 tells us that David will call God "My Father". In the *Old Testament, the king thought of God as Father for his people; in the *New Testament, each Christian thinks of God as Father. The "first born son", or oldest son, verse 27, had twice as much from his father as the other sons. "Most high" is also a name for God, but here used for the king. This is a part of the psalm that makes Christians think about Jesus. That is why they have sung it at Christmas for centuries. In verses 32-33, it is not David that God *punishes, but his *descendants.

The Problem

Psalm 89: 38 - 52

v38   But you have said "no" to your *anointed (king).
  You have turned away (from him)
  because you have become angry with him.

v39   You have *broken the *covenant with your servant.
  You threw his *crown to the ground and made it dirty.

v40   You have broken all the walls (round his city).
  You have destroyed all his strong places.

v41   Everyone that goes near him robs him.
  Everybody that lives near him laughs at him.

v42   You have made all his enemies strong,
  you have made them all happy (because they beat him).

v43   You made the edge of his *sword *blunt
  and you have not given him help in war.

v44   You have taken away his authority as king
  and you threw his *throne on the ground.

v45   He does not look *like a young man any more.
  You have dressed him in *shame.   *SELAH

v46   *LORD, how long (will this continue)?
  Will you always hide yourself?
  Will your great *anger (always) burn like a fire?

v47   Remember that my life is so short!
  Have you *created people for no reason?

v48   What man can live and not die?
  Who can save himself from the power of *Sheol (death)?

v49   *Lord, where is the kind love (that you gave us) in past times?
  Where are the special promises that you made to David?

v50   Remember, *Lord, that people have *scorned your servant.
  Many countries have said bad things to me.

v51   *LORD, your enemies laugh at the king that you have chosen.
  They *scorn him everywhere he goes.

v52   Always *praise the *LORD! *Amen and *amen!

What Psalm 89: 38 - 52 means

In the first 18 verses, the *psalmist tells us how great God is. In verses 19-37, he tells us what God promised to David. Now, in verses 38-45, he tells us that God has not done what he promised. In verses 46-51, he prays that God will do something. (Verse 52 is not part of the psalm. It finishes Book 3 of The Psalms.) The servant in verses 39 and 50 is the king. Some Bible students think that the king speaks in verses 50-51. The psalm does not answer the problem. There is no answer until Jesus came to earth. Remember ... Jesus was a *descendant of David!

Did Ethan write all Psalm 89?

Many Bible students think that Psalm 89 is three psalms in one! Ethan was one of Davidís singers. He could not have known about Nebuchadnezzar, who lived 500 years later. Bible students explain this by saying:

    Ethan wrote the first part, verses 1-18. At this time, both Tabor and Hermon (verse 12) were in the land David's *descendants ruled. Later, they were not.

    Someone else wrote the next part, verses 19-37. This was maybe 400 years after David ruled Israel. Maybe Josiah was king.

    A third person wrote the last part, verses 38-51. This was after Nebuchadnezzar had beaten the *Jews. He took their king (Jehoiakin) to Babylon. Jehoiakin was not king any more.

Something to do

1.  If you have a Bible, read what God promised to David. You will find it in 2 Samuel 7.

2.  When God does not answer when you pray, read this psalm, then read in the *New Testament about Jesus! Then wait for your answer.

3.  Count how many times the special word "kind love" comes in this psalm. (The word is "Hesed" in *Hebrew.)

Word List

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

Amen ~ we agree!

angels ~ *spirits that live in *heaven with God.

anger ~ what you feel when you are angry.

anoint ~ pour on *olive oil.

anointed ~ with (*olive) oil poured on.

barley ~ a plant; people make bread from the seeds (called "grain").

blunt ~ not sharp.

break ~ (in Psalm 89:33, 34) not do (what you said you would do).

broken ~ (in Psalm 89:39) not done (the past of "*break").

church ~ all those people that believe all about Jesus.

conquer ~ beat in a war.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

created ~ made (as only God can make).

crown ~ a special hat that a king wears.

descendants ~ children, grandchildren, and so on; people in your family that live after you are dead.

forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2).

glory ~ something that shines very much, maybe *heaven: God has glory because his *righteousness shines from inside him.

grace ~ when someone (here God) is kind and *forgives when he does not have to forgive.

grapes~ the fruit of a plant called the *vine. People use them to make drink that has alcohol in it. The drink is *wine.

harp ~ you can make music with it.

heaven ~ the home of God.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

holy ~ very, very good; only God is really *holy, the land where he lives with his people is also *holy because he is there.

holy ones ~ they live with God in *heaven.

horn ~ hard bone on head of animal, showing it is strong; look at the note on Psalm 75:4.

huge ~ very, very large.

jargon ~ special words.

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.

kingdom ~ the country that has a king.

laws ~ the rules in a country. In Psalm 78, the rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.

lie ~ say words that are not true.

like ~ another word for "as".

locust ~ an insect that eats all the green parts of plants.

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or "master"; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

lyre ~ you can make music with it.

maskil ~ a psalm that teaches you something.

miracles ~ great things that only God can do.

monster ~ a very large animal.

musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it in a quiet way (harp, lyre). Many of these are in Psalm 150 in Book 5 of The Psalms of David.

nest ~ place where a bird keeps its babies.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught and about the church [see church].

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the *holy things that the writers wrote before Christís birth.

olive ~ a fruit.

praise ~ say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.

prayer ~ words that you say when you pray.

prophet ~ someone that says what God thinks and will do.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people that love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say that they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of The Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

righteousness ~ what you have when you are *righteous.

Satan ~ the leader of the bad *spirits, known also as the Devil and Lucifer.

scorn ~ laugh in a bad way at someone.

SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.

shake ~ move from one side to another and back again very fast many times.

shame ~ a bad feeling when we have done wrong.

Sheol ~ where *Jews said that you went when you died.

shield ~ what a soldier holds over himself to stop things hitting him.

sin ~ not obeying God, or what you do when you do not obey God.

sons of God ~ they live with God in *heaven.

spirits ~ they are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually known as *angels. Bad spirits (known also as evil spirits, or demons) do not live in *heaven now, but in the air round us. *Satan is their leader.

sword ~ a long, sharp knife that soldiers use to fight people with.

temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.

throne ~ a special seat that a king sits on.

unhappy ~ the opposite of happy.

vines ~ plants that grow *grapes (to make *wine).

vision ~ *like a dream.

whip ~ something to hit people and animals with.

wicked ~ very, very bad.

wine ~ a drink with alcohol in it. People make it from *grapes.

wonderful ~ great and surprising.

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2002

Visit our website: